Coram Deo ~

Looking at contemporary culture from a Christian worldview

MOVIE REVIEW ~ DR. STRANGE

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dr-strangeDr. Strange, rated PG-13
****

Dr. Strange is the fourteenth film to be released by Marvel Studios for the Marvel Cinematic Universe and is directed and co-written (with C. Robert Cargill) by Scott Derrickson. The film is based on the Marvel Comics character created in 1963 by Stan Lee and artist Steve Ditko. The film had a budget of approximately $165 million. It’s designed as the Doctor Strange franchise-launcher, with sequels to follow.

Oscar nominee Benedict Cumberbatch (Sherlock) stars as the rich, egotistical New York City neurosurgeon Stephen Strange. Due to distracted driving, he gets into a terrible car accident that ruins his hands, and as a result, his career as a surgeon. He becomes even more cruel and withdrawn, lashing out at ex-lover and co-worker Christine Palmer (Oscar nominee Rachel McAdams).

Strange seeks healing for his hands. He is given a tip about a secret sect in Nepal led by a sorcerer referred to as the Ancient One (Best Actress Oscar winner Tilda SwInton). (Note: in the comic which debuted in 1963, the Ancient One is played by an older Tibetan male). The Ancient One opens Strange up to worlds he never believed existed as she introduces him to the spirit world. Previously, he only believed in a material world. Some of what you see may remind you of Inception and the Matrix films. Strange is exposed to the Mirror Dimension, in which the magic doesn’t affect people in the real world and the laws of physics don’t apply. We see Strange learn how to bend time and space.

Working with The Ancient One and mentoring Strange are Wong (Benedict Wong) and Karl Mordo (Oscar nominee Chiwetel Ejiofor).  The villain in the story is played by Kaecilus (Mads Mikkelsen), a former student of the Ancient One who steals pages out of an ancient book in the opening scene.

The film is rated PG-13 for sci-fi violence and action throughout, and the intense crash scene. As far as content concerns for Christians, Cumberbatch has stated the spiritualism of Doctor Strange is what appealed to him the most about the role. Ted Baehr of MovieGuide.org, a site that I’ve consulted for years, has issued the below warning about the film:

Doctor Strange is a dangerous introduction to demonic occult deception….The Bible clearly warns against the kind of occult practices and sorcery the hero in this movie learns to do in Deuteronomy 18:9-12 and Galatians 5:20. Also, in the movie, the hero’s New Age occult guru teaches that there may be no afterlife, that death is truly the end, and that this is a good thing”.

Although I respect Dr. Baehr’s warning, I felt that the film did include some Christian themes of humility and sacrificing yourself for the good of others; it is basically a good vs. evil story. The evil offered eternal life, just as the serpent offered to Adam and Eve in the garden.  I saw the film in IMAX 3-D, and felt that it was worth the additional cost. The 3-D brought out the film’s excellent CGI (computer generated imagery). It is a visually stunning film and I would recommend you seeing it in 3-D.

I thought Cumberbatch was superb as Doctor Strange, and the supporting cast of Ejiofor, Wong, Swinton and McAdams solid. The film also includes some excellent humor and interesting details, such as a man on a bus reading The Doors of Perception by Aldous Huxley. First published in 1954, it details his experiences when taking mescaline.

I enjoyed the film’s costumes and Dr. Strange’s Cloak of Levitation. The musical score from Michael Giacchino also added to the enjoyment of the film.  I look forward to additional Dr. Strange films.

And with all Marvel films, don’t forget to wait after the movie. There are two end credits scenes.

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Author: Bill Pence

I’m Bill Pence. I’m married to my best friend. I’m a St. Louis Cardinals fan, a manager at a Fortune 100 company, a graduate of Covenant Theological Seminary, and in leadership at my local church. I am a life-long learner and have a passion to help people determine their callings, develop to their fullest potential and to utilize their strengths more fully. My favorite book is the Bible, and some other favorite books are Don’t Waste Your Life by John Piper, The Holiness of God by R.C. Sproul and Crazy Love by Francis Chan.

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